The purpose of this study was to examine the construction and performance of masculinity within the gym culture. The study looked at how male students who work out regularly at The College of Wooster perceive and perform their masculinity and how their masculinity is built or reinforced through physical training. As a qualitative study, interviews were conducted with six students who identified as members of the “gym culture” at The College of Wooster. Observations were also conducted within both gyms at the College. The study found that the Wooster gym culture differs from that of mainstream commercial gym cultures and the emphasis within the culture is on overall health, well-being, stress relief, and community. The study showed a strong connection between the performance and construction of masculinity and working out in the gym. Further, the gym culture served to protect participants against feelings of body dissatisfaction that can lead to a variety of social, emotional, and physical disorders. An implication of the study is that college students would benefit from specific knowledge about the body and fitness techniques. Another implication is that earlier education about gender identity could help free individuals from stereotypes and resulting pressures learned earlier in life. A third implication is that colleges should recognize the gym culture as a wholesome way to help students integrate into a school’s overall culture.
Long, Andrew, "“Do You Even Lift?”: An Ethnographic Study of the Relationship Between the Gym Culture at the College of Wooster and an Individual’s Construction of His Masculine Identity" (2018). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 8032.
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
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